Pfizer testing strength of its vaccine in global study, Tri-Cities leaders share their involvement


BRISTOL, Va. (WJHL) – Just days before a COVID-19 vaccine could be approved in the United States, federal regulators are giving us a first look at the shot’s effectiveness.

Tuesday, the Food and Drug Administration posted an initial review online saying the Pfizer vaccine is strongly protective against the virus.

This comes two days before a panel of independent experts will go over the FDA’s findings and vote on whether to recommend the vaccine. An emergency use authorization could follow.

Pfizer tested the strength of its vaccine in a global study that included Holston Medical Group here in the Tri-Cities region.

News Channel 11’s Pheben Kassahun got an update about it from a trial participant.

Bristol, Virginia city attorney and city manager, Randy Rads is part of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine trial through Holston Medical Group. He has yet to find out whether he took the placebo or the actual vaccine.

“In Pfizer’s vaccine program, you take two shots 21 days apart. So, I took my first shot in September and my second shot in October,” the city attorney explained.

Randy Eads felt that as a community leader, he needed to be part of the trial to be able to help his community.

“I think that’s one opportunity for me to be able to tell people in the future I was part of the trial vaccine program, now it’s time for everyone to step up and do their part so that we can get over this pandemic and move forward,” Eads said.

While many are hesitant to take the vaccine when it becomes available to the general public, Ballad Health Dr. Daniel Lewis said he understands the fear but trials have shown that is effective.

Doctor Daniel Lewis said, “Today, we suggest the vaccine is very effective in preventing COVID-19. We can’t know of everything in the short term about that but our body uses the MRNA molecules on a day and day out basis to repair itself.”

Dr. Lewis had a significant case of COVID-19 in the spring, and suffered significantly from it. He was on a ventilator for ten days.

Dr. Lewis said, “The first chance I get to take the vaccine, I’ll receive the vaccine.”

He said vaccine would help boost your immunity if you have had COVID-19 or not.

Dr. Lewis said, “Re-infection does not seem very likely but I believe the opportunity to receive the vaccine potentially, and again just gives your immune system any boost you can against that virus can be beneficial for us.”

At this time, randy does not know whether or not he received the vaccine or the placebo. He encourages everyone to read about the vaccine and to make the best decision for yourself.

“When you take part in the vaccine trial, you’re committed to them for a two-year process. Over the next two years, I will continue to go back and have blood work done so that they can follow my blood and how the vaccine affected me over the course of two years,” Eads said.

Eads said Pfizer paid him $119 to visit the clinic. He said he tried to decline getting paid but they would not let him.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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